BY ABDULAI MANSARAY
The Political Symbiosis of the APC for 2023
“The only party that represents the grassroots of this country and whose values are based on working for the common man and woman in the country”. Those were the words of declaration from the former vice president, Alhaji Sam Sumana, when he made his long awaited return to the APC party almost 5 years after he was sacked. If Idris Elba can come back home, why not Sam. His return will undoubtedly generate a lot of opinions across the political spectrum. While some in the party will see this as the return of the prodigal son, others in his native Kono District may see this as the betrayal of a traitor. You be the judge.
No matter how you view this latest political twist, there is no doubt that political expediency was one of the thrusts of this re-marriage, for better or for worse. While some will see this latest manoeuvre as one of political expediency, the majority would be inclined to see it as a political marriage of convenience; whether it was made in heaven is another matter. Sam Sumana went into political hibernation, following his summary expulsion; only to emerge with the newly formed C4C party. This gave some credence to one of the primary reasons given by the APC for his expulsion then. Among other reasons, he was accused of fermenting a breakaway faction in the APC, and when he returned with an ECOWAS backed verdict of unlawful removal and request for damages from the APC, the verdict was not even dignified with a response by his party. Was this switch a trade off, as some would say?
But has Sam’s return raised more questions than answers? Would many see his return to the fold, as the APC’s tacit acknowledgement that it lost the elections because C4C had a clean sweep of Kono district? When you look at the margin of victory, it is plausible that if the APC had won in Kono District, some members in the ruling party would have made the employment statistics. Nevertheless, some political commentators would be keen to know whether Sam is coming back to take the mantle of flagbearer or otherwise. Will he be the running mate, for the second time to Samura Kamara or somebody else? Where does that leave Samura, an unknown that has recently become the face of the APC, after his failed attempt to lead the party to victory?
Equally, there are those in the APC party who would be scratching their heads as to whether his return has just thrown the spanner in the works. There have been talk of Sam switching to SLPP, who had hitherto given a lip service in defending and protesting Sam’s sacking while they were in comatose opposition. I am sure that Sam took lessons from Kandeh Yumkella and read the disclaimer; that the SLPP party operates a “no vacancy…. in Bio we trust” policy. With the remaining C4C party members vowing to continue with their representation, where does Sam seat between these two political blocks, the APC and C4C?
It is understandable if many C4C supporters feel aggrieved, betrayed and left high and dry. This “et tu brute” moment will have its implications for all parties involved in one way or the other. They say that when you betray a friend, you will often find that you have ruined yourself. C4C was friend, but little did it know that serpents change their skins and not their fangs. This is a gentle reminder that you cannot cry more than the bereaved; for that is exactly what has happened in Kono district. Sam was hailed as the son of the soil that was badly treated by his in. They took their allegiance from the APC as payback. Kono District kept vigil with Sam all night, only for Sam to ask “why the red eyes?” in the morning. You cannot deny that C4C significantly contributed to the demise of APC in the polls. But just when C4C was making itself relevant in the corridors of power, their arch angel jumped ship. Wow.
So will Sam be received as the prodigal son or otherwise?. In the bible, the prodigal son, or lost son was an abuser of grace; an unmerited or unearned favour. The son had a loving father (C4C), a good home (Kono District), a future (C4C Party leader) and an inheritance (????). But he traded it all for temporal pleasures. Ok, let us forget the Sunday school bible lessons, but what do we learn from our politics today? If last year’s list of flagbearer aspirants is anything to go by, there is no doubt that one or two are nursing their wounds and at the same time nursing some ambition to try again. Wish you were a fly on the wall when such discussions take place?
There is a temptation to see Sam’s defection as a crisis of confidence, while others will see it as opportunistic. Irrespective of your view, there is no doubt that there would be some political ripples along the way. By abandoning Kono District, does that open up the district for a political auction? Will the SLPP take advantage of the disappointment, the grievance and perceived betrayal to make in roads into the body politic in Kono District? Will the SLPP capitalise on the apparent vacuum for leadership that may be evident in C4C? We all know that C4C was founded and built on an emotional alter; in response to some crass decision by the APC party; much to their peril. But will the C4C be strong enough to resist the temptation from the political auctioneers; who would be just too willing to dangle some carrots in their way? Time will tell.
In the red corner, Samura has been consolidating his position in the party, albeit lukewarm. In the video clip that was published in thesierraleonetelgraph.com, it showed Sam being welcomed by party members. If that clip is anything to go by, one that had less than 25 people singing the APC victory song for Sam, it is fair, though hasty to say that he may have taken an uncalculated risk. One would expect such a return to cause some traffic congestion some how, and especially along Old Railway Line. We did not see the fanfare and gumbay dancing that follows Samura Kamara, even when he engages in his politically manifested attendances to the local mosques. Will Sam be able to bring everyone under one roof? A lot of that will depend on who takes charge of the party mantle.
At this point in time, we can only ask questions and trade in illogically logical permutations. We might be at risk of dancing ourselves lame, when the main dance is yet to come. It might be wise to wait and see which role Sam is returning to play, which position and which influence if any, he will have in the party in particular, and on our political landscape at large. One thing is certain though, the rules of engagement have changed. Only time will tell if this was for the better or worse, for both the APC and Sam. There is no doubt that the APC and Sam maybe facing one of their biggest political conundrums. Will Sam become a slave in heaven or king in hell (pardon the imagery)? Let us assume that Sam becomes the flagbearer, a wild assumption I know; will he galvanise the APC to victory? Does he have the national appeal to resuscitate the APC or just another spanner in the works? It may be too early to say but watch this space.
Take it or leave, there is bound to be some political gymnastics and horse trading on the horizon.
Don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room.